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Last night I was back at the dojo after a week off for the holidays. Our first class with Toyoda Sensei concentrated on lots of kotegaeshi and backward rolls, although not at the same time. Gyaku kotegaeshi is far more powerful that I first thought, but uke really has to know how to take the ukemi from that control, otherwise they'll stumble over themselves. And yes, that was me, stumbling over myself the first few times nage applied the kotegaeshi on me.
The second class with Parks-Casey Sensei began with shikko. Up and down the length of the mats a few times we went. Then we started working on turns. They're exactly like some turns I learned during a dance class (WAY back in the day), I have the concept pretty well. It'll just be a matter of polishing my form and keeping my balance better. And of course, trying not to think of how sore my knees are.
Our shikko practice led into suwariwaza. I'd seen it done during a kyu test, but had never tried it. Shomenuchi kokyunage isn't a wildly complex technique. It doesn't have a million hand changes or feet movements. But when I tried it on my knees, I felt as helpless as an infant. Balance, control, throwing, all the rules change. Even the ukemi is wildly different because you're already so close to the ground.
But that didn't stop it from being very enjoyable. Every time we were each nage, there was a line of four uke taking turns attacking. The timing for the entering step at the beginning is REALLY critical, just as it is in the standing technique. Loads of fun. I look forward to doing it more in the future.
When our knees were all tired, we did lots of throwing from katatetori and ryotetori. Parks-Casey Sensei demonstrated about ten variations of each with Toyoda Sensei and then we were let loose throwing everyone as one big group. I barely remembered two or three variations as nage, but I can see now that the lesson wasn't for nage. It was an uke lesson...learning to accept whatever ukemi you're being led into. It's hard. Really hard. But that's why we train, to soften the rough edges of things.
The final class was weapons intro, Jo Kata II. I'd done this kata before a few times with Erickson Sensei and Kirsten Sims Sensei, one of the Summer Kenshusei. There were two students who'd never done the kata before, and by the end of the class they were both getting all twenty-two steps. Next week we'll work on it again, and maybe if I can remember everything, I'll put the kiai's in the right place.